Music educator retires after 40 years of teaching

Thu, 05/18/2006 - 1:43pm
By: The Citizen

Ben Westberry

The founding member of the current music education program in the Fayette County School System will be retiring this year with 40 years of dedicated service to the community.

Mr. Ben Westberry, band director and music educator, started his teaching career in the Fayette County Schools in 1966. On his decision to become a teacher, he said, “I decided in the 12th grade I wanted to go into music education, because I wanted to pass on what people had given to me.” Westberry was hired to revive a band program at Fayette County High School that had been nonexistent for the previous 12 years. With seed money from the Jaycee’s, he started the high school band program while also teaching instrumental music in the elementary schools. He also taught the high school chorus for a short time.

Westberry has had numerous musical accomplishments throughout the duration of his teaching career. While at Fayette County High School, he had the highest number of band students selected for the All State Band in the entire state of Georgia. His top band also received straight superior ratings in the highest grade level during his last year at the high school, and the band represented the state of Georgia at a music festival in Florida. When he left Fayette County High School in the late 1970’s, his new position placed him as the elementary band supervisor for the county. Mr. Westberry has since taught instrumental music in most of the county’s elementary and middle schools.

The instrumental and choral programs in Fayette County are known nationally and internationally for their high level of performance excellence and music education. Mr. Westberry’s feeling on the high quality of the music programs in the county is, “I haven't been responsible for the quality of all the music programs in Fayette County, but I helped set it in motion.”

When he retires he will have more time to devote to his clarinet, teaching private lessons, and to his other passion, woodworking.

A special retirement celebration program will be held on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Whitewater High School Auditorium. All friends, family and former students are invited to attend to honor Ben Westberry’s commitment to music education. A reception will follow the program.

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